Paris Eiffel Jumping

 

Hot stuff

 

It was a heatwave in Paris but the competition was relentless during the 8th leg of the Global Champions Tour  which took place at the footsteps of the Eiffel Tower – a spectacular venue, where the show jumping competitions of the past are now revived.

 

By Pascal Renauldon

 

 

The three day meeting ended  with one of the craziest 5* classes of the beginning of this century – the Prix de la Ville de Paris.

For what seemed like an eternity, spectators were wondering if one of the riders could make a clear round. Bars fell all the time, retirement and elimination multiplied, 15 in total, until Edwina Tops Alexander showed up.

The Australian rider was the 26th to go!

For a long time, she felt a little bit lonely until the clear round of the Egyptian Karim Elzohby (n°37), then the British Ben Maher (39th of 41 riders) who had joined the female rider for a jump-off at three.

Yet, we had not seen it all! The trial ended with a perfect ex-aequo, at the hundredth of seconds, between the British and the Egyptian, kind of the surprise guest of this Eiffel party:

“It’s amazing,” said the Egyptian based in the Netherlands.

“This jump-off was crazy, the entire class was a crazy story. I was kind of the outsider today and in the mean time, Amelia is doing her first season in five stars’ shows. I hope I’ll go far with her. Maybe to Rio”.

In Paris Elzohby won his first 5*  – a victory he had to share with the British Ben Maher, a regular in the 5* victories, but not in this kind of scenario.

 

 

“This jump-off was crazy, the entire class was a crazy story.”

 

 

“I never saw anything like that. Crashes, eliminations, as much as bars on the ground. And a jump-off not really easier than the first round, with lots of turns… I didn’t plan anything actually, I just watched the others on the screen… maybe I should have pushed a little bit to go cut the line, I could have done one stride less, but Cella was once again wonderful.

It feels weird to share a victory… it’s not exactly the same. But Karim did something amazing today, and he deserves as much as I do this victory. He is a fantastic rider, as his horse, and I knew he could have gone really fast, it’s not a surprise for me.

 

To win alone or in duo in front of this public, in this incredible place, it was a big moment.

As for the numerous incidents of the first round, this is because the track here is very square and the way the course was drawn created lots of angles; obstacles came suddenly after many turns and quickly one after the other not allowing riders time to let their horses gallop.

 

Actually, it’s not what I was looking for in the configuration for my mare, in preparation of the European Championship in Aachen where there is a big arena and where the horses have to move.

It’s a work I would be able to do in Chantilly in 15 days on the big grass arena. But today I will enjoy this victory even if it’s a shared one.”

 

Edwina Tops Alexander who unfroze the situation by signing the first clear-round, also cleared her second round, however not fast enough and ended up third.

 

17 + 19 = 5 * Grand Prix

 

Saturday’s highlight was the story of a genius, a 19-year old kid who is scared of nothing, nor intimidated by anything.

At 19, Bertram Allen holds a track record that deserves the greatest respect. After his second year at the top level and a third place in the World Cup Final of Las Vegas, the prodigy won his fifth five stars Grand Prix now with the Longines Global Champions Tour under his belt. And not any Grand Prix – the trophy of the Eiffel Tower!

Keeping his usual calm, not demonstrating his joy with excess, Bertram Allen wanted to pay tribute to his horse:

“Romanov is 17, I’m only two years older, it’s not ordinary I guess. Anyway, after Verona and Bordeaux, I see that everytime I jump a class built by Uliano Vezzani I end up with a victory.”

 

At the Eiffel tower

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